Sunlight poured through the thick canopy of the forest, lighting up the dense undergrowth and providing a means of vision. The air was filled with a scent, musky and crisp but calming at the same time. It was a scent that could put you to sleep or sharpen your senses. A silence loomed over the forest, with the occasional flutter of leaves from birds taking flight from a tree branch or a snap of a twig from a squirrel.
In the distance, crashing sounds could be heard, followed by the sound of rustling leaves under running feet. Occasionally, grunts and gasps would be let out, ragged breaths and gulping of air accompanying them.
Hermione ran as fast as she could, not really seeing where she was running. The forest floor was uneven, ragged and bumpy. Thus she kept her sight on the ground below her, watching where she was running so as to not trip and get caught. She could sense the snatcher get closer and closer and she flung a hex over her shoulder, hoping it would hit her intended target. But alas, it merely struck a tree trunk, in no way hurting or slowing down the snatcher. She had lost sight of Harry and Ron, though she could hear their grunts somewhere in the distance behind her. She couldn't think of them now.
Run. Come on Hermione, just run as fast as you can.
Thoughts along those lines constantly echoed in her mind, her only pushing factor which prevented her from stopping to take a breath or look for her two best friends. She knew if she slowed down, she would get caught. And if she got caught…
She would not think of that.
Only one thing was important at the very moment.
She cast another hex over her shoulder as she pushed her tired feet to run faster. The rustling of leaves was still there, though less audible now. Hexes were whizzing past her and hitting trees ahead but she did not let that deter her stamina. She could not slow down. She could not stop.
Her thoughts drifted to Harry and Ron. She was so tempted to turn and see if they were fine. If they were caught and she wasn't, she didn't know how she would ever live with herself. She wanted to help them in some way, she wanted to be with them so that they could face, or rather escape the danger together. But she knew she couldn't think about them now.
Every man to himself.
She hated that quote and found it unnervingly selfish and oblivious, but it was ironic how it fit the situation at the moment perfectly.
Suddenly, there was silence. Not a snap of twigs or rustling of leaves. No running footsteps or labored breaths. No commanding shouts or determined grunts. Just dead silence. Hermione slowed down to a stop and took advantage of the break in her run to catch her breath. Breathing deeply, she slowly turned around, the sound of her wild heartbeat reverberating in her ears. Her hand clutched onto her wand for dear life and her vice-like grip ensured there was no way of it falling from her sweaty palms.
As she cautiously peered behind her, she saw nothing but the dense yet empty forest. Trees, trees and more trees. But no people. No Harry. No Ron. No Snatchers. Not a living thing in sight. Hermione wanted to feel relieved, but her worries only grew.
How fast and far did she run?
Did the snatchers get Harry and Ron?
Is this some type of trick?
Are they going to suddenly jump out and attack?
As if on cue, a hand clamped over Hermione's mouth. She let out her loudest scream possible, but it only came out as a muffled grunt as the hand prevented any loud sounds. She tried to raise her wand, but she could feel it be snatched violently out of her hand. Her captor was much taller than her and by the physique; she knew he was a man. She began to kick and scream and punch, trying any sort of violent move to help her escape the arms which strained her.
An annoyed grunt made its way to her ears as she punched her captor in the ribs. Finally, the arms let go and Hermione staggered forward a bit. She immediately regained her composure but before she could turn around, she felt something hit her in the back, causing a stinging pain to erupt through her entire body. That was when everything went black.
Hermione groaned as she slowly opened her eyes. There was a throbbing in her head and it took a couple of seconds for her blurred vision to clear. She looked straight ahead to find a white, blank ceiling. Furrowing her brows, she gradually sat up on the bed and looked around her, taking in her surroundings. There was a small wooden cabinet beside the single-sized plain white bed she currently rested on. The room was rather small with cream walls which spotted a few stains and an oak wardrobe flushed against it. There was a window to her right which was partially covered with white, lacy curtains, allowing some amount of golden sunlight to pour into the scarce room.
It took a few seconds to let everything sink in, but once they did, Hermione nearly went into a mode of hysteria. The last thing she could recall was running through the forest away from the snatchers and being caught and held by someone. Her heartbeat quickened and she desperately looked around for her wand when she suddenly recalled it being snatched from her. Hermione was about to jump off the bed when she heard footsteps from outside the door. Before she could make a single movement, the door creaked open.
"Aah. You're awake."
Hermione's eyes widened in disbelief as her jaw fell open. Her breathing became ragged and she could feel herself tipping towards the edge of hysteria and panic. She watched as the person casually leant against the door frame with his arms crossed over his chest, smirking at the gawking sight of her. His dark suit was a contrast to his creamy-pale skin and his platinum-blonde hair was almost as bright as his blue-grey eyes.
Her tone was almost as much of a growl as it was a question. But she wasn't that surprised. After he attempted to kill Dumbledore, it was clear Draco Malfoy held his allegiances with Voldemort. He was a DeathEater, of course he would turn her in. A tug of fear evaded her heart as she watched the Slytherin Malfoy slowly walk up to the end of the bed.
"Surprised to see me, Granger?"
His tone was the most condescending and his words came out as a snarl as he made a disgusted face at Hermione. She could feel the rage boil inside her as she glared at the prejudiced Pureblood.
"Where am I? Where's Harry and Ron?" She barked at him.
"My my. Someone's got their knickers in a twist." Draco chuckled as he leaned against the foot board of the bed, crossing on leg over the other and stuffing his hands into his pockets. Hermione's anger just rose more as he purposefully watched her with a superior and arrogant look on his face, his eyes twinkling almost in amusement.
"I am not playing games here, Death Eater." Hermione spat.
Draco's entire body tensed up and he stood straight immediately, his hands out of his pockets in fists as he glared daggers at the Gryffindor. However, before he could throw back a nasty insult, another voice could be heard.
"Oh! Miss Granger you're awake."
As Professor McGonagall stepped into the room, Hermione braint went into a frenzy, confused as ever at the bizarre situation she was in.
"Mr Malfoy, how long has she been awake?"
"Not long actually. Couple of minutes or so." Draco replied monotonously, though boredom and disinterest laced his voice.
"Professor! H-He's...He's Draco Malfoy!" Hermione cried out, pointing an accusing finger at Draco.
"You really are the brightest witch of your age." Draco sarcastically muttered, rolling his eyes.
"Yes Miss Granger. I am aware of that." Professor McGonagall calmly spoke.
"H-He's...He's a...He's a Deatheater!" Hermione shrieked.
Draco's body tensed up again and his jaw was tight but Hermione didn't care about that. She was only focused on the fact that a member of the Order and a DeathEater were in the same room and not even hexing each other.
"Yes Miss Granger. But that is not all that he is." Professor McGonagall explained.
Hermione's brows furrowed even more and with a sigh, Professor McGonagall looked down for a second before further elaborating.
"He is not only a spy for the Order, but also your saviour and your new partner."